Claire and Rob, wedding photos in vines at Villa Bellezza, Pepin, Wisconsin

The last post was about an engagement session taking place in historical building, which places a huge role for families in St Paul and Minneapolis. Today, let me share with you Claire and Rob’s wedding which took place some time ago, and who also features some historical buildings.

It was the first time I was a second shooter on a wedding, and that was actually a pretty cool experience! I had absolutely no pressure given the main photographer was taking care of all the important moments. So, I had plenty of time to be more creative.

Preparation of the Groom

While the bride was getting ready at her venue – having her hair and make-up done at the Apartment – the groom was getting ready at the hotel. They actually rented the St. James Hotel in Red Wing (on the south side of the Mississippi River). The groom was at the hotel’s new extension which looked more like a modern apartment than an historic room.

Anyway, it was a great moment.

Rob offered a watch to each of his groomsmen and made sure all of them would be in time for the celebration. I like the way guys can be pretty relaxed and completely disorganized in such situation. Rob had to press them. I like the way he is looking at them in the image taken in the bathroom: it’s a mix of stress and desperation.

Anyway, when all the guys were ready we took a couple of pictures in the parking lot, which looks like a warehouse. Then we used the old and historic part to stage some group pictures. The hotel team helped us a bit with the furniture.

I have to say that I really love this location. It’s such a pleasure to have such a nice background for pictures in Minnesota.

Wedding at the Sabylund Lutheran Church

For their religious ceremony they chose the Sabylund Lutheran Church, located in Stockholm, WI. It’s a charming little red church, all made in wood, ten minutes’ driving from the Villa Bellezza Winery. The church has been built a long time ago, on the side of the road. But today, it’s lost in the middle of the Wisconsin fields.

When we arrived, a few family members were already at the location, but not the bride. The groom started to be nervous. I caught a funny candid picture of the groom and his brother fixing their father bow ties, with the help of a YouTube video.

The church furniture is gorgeous, with antique statues and a yellow light coming from beautiful stained glasses. The bride and groom didn’t need to add a lot of decorations, just some flowers.

The bride finally arrived and went hiding in the basement where she finalized the last makeup retouch. She was a bit nervous, wanted everything to be perfect, and you know how makeup is important for women.

Picture of the Bride Walking the Aisle

As an engagement and professional wedding photographer in Minneapolis, I am usually staying close to the groom during the beginning of the ceremony. I pray to have him crying, and hope to see some emotion in the bride’s face. But on this wedding, I was second shooter, which means, I can have all the fun I wanted.

In consequence, I was delighted for having the possibility to capture pictures from the balcony! I especially like the shots I took of the bride entering on the red carpet with her father.

The religious ritual was classical but nice, and after saying “I do,” they kissed and were announced as husband and wife.

Bride and Groom photo-shoot

While all their family and friends were heading to the Villa Bellezza winery where a cocktail was waiting for them, we took time to set up the husband and wife photo session.

First they rented a gorgeous old red convertible car. Some time using car rentals is a great idea! It was such a pleasure to take some pictures using those stunning cars. I asked them to take a seat in front of the car and to turn the lights on.

Then, we drove a few minutes and went to Claire’s family house, above Pepin. We used the meadow fields and the warehouse to take some pictures. I knew I would turn all the images pretty dark by increasing contrast and thus creating a black background. The bride in her vintage-style dress and the groom in his tailor-made costar were both gorgeous. But given they hadn’t done any pre-wedding session to learn how to relax, they were still nervous. I guess if we had more time, it would have been appreciated capturing better pictures. But to be honest, the result was already great, especially for a cloudy day.

Wedding Cocktail at the Villa Bellezza Winery, a Variety of Decoration

For their reception they chose the Villa Bellezza. If you don’t know it, I recommend that you go and check yourself. The Villa Bellezza winery is a little piece of Toscana lost in the middle of the Wisconsin, in Pepin. Actually, it’s much more than “just” a winery, it’s an attraction.

The Italian Courtyard

The owner built an Italian-style vineyard building, with real stones, amazing wooden doors, and arches above hallways. At the center of the venue stands a large paved piazza where guests can seat and enjoy their glass of wine. In the middle of the piazza you can find a large fountain, such as you have in the south of Europe, in Mediterranean countries. The less we can say is that this winery in Pepin generate such a powerful atmosphere, that you forget you are in Wisconsin, USA.

A Stunning Location Loved for Photos Sessions

The wedding venue is surrounded by vines that cover all the adjacent hills up to the mountain. It’s a very nice landscape to picture and a great background for the wedding. The couples looking for the best place for engagement session or surprise proposal should consider the Villa Bellezza.

Outdoor Ceremony Option Offered

In the middle of the fields of grappes, the owner has even built what they call a pavilion. It’s an Italian-inspired construction, similar to a temple with beautiful columns. It generates an atmosphere of antiquity.
The Vineyard pavilion is very spacious and can easily host an outdoor union. Guests would be protected from the sun and could enjoy the landscape.

Reception at the Villa Bellezza

The dinner took place inside the main room. It’s an elegant spacious room, all furnished, (no need to extra rentals) that can easily accommodate very large weddings.

The room is very charming with a high wooden ceiling that contrasts with the industrial warehouse style famous in the Cities. The second floor hallway with its arched opening creates a kind of balcony with a nice fence offering a view on the reception. At the end of the hallway remarkable stairs make the junction between the two floors.

In front of the stairs, stands on the dance floor with the wooden floor and the nice Italian-looking windows. The waiters are very reactive and are ready to help with any concern.
In one word, it’s a great place!

A diner with emotion

The dinner was delicious, thanks to the talented chef. By contrast with other vineyards, one of the greatest advantages of this winery is that they also have a chef in the place! And who better than wine lovers can cook the perfect food that marries your wine?

During the event toasts and speeches took place. It’s one of the preferred moments by the guests . Indeed, close family members show their love.

Dancing

The bride and the groom booked a jazz band for their special evening and obviously had practiced their dance. They started the party with a swing dance, and after the vendors moved some tables, the music band turned the reception hall into a dance club! All the bridal party followed by the entire family joined the couple to dance until the end of the night.

Who Should Plan a Wedding at Villa Bellezza

This winery in Pepin as earned many decorations through the years. Its vineyards are now famous in Minnesota too and beyond in the Midwest. This is a charming venue that can host a lot a people.
Having such a standing of quality required, of course, a good team of vendors (florist, caterers, photographers), it’s reserved to people who can afford it. That’s said, it’s a one lifetime event!

So, call me!


If you liked this story, you should like

Nadine and Kevin, a wedding of two families. The religious ceremony features the Basilica of St Mary in Minneapolis (her walking the aisles surrounded by a sublime architecture, its marble columns), and the celebration at the Nicollet Pavilion.

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